Branded to Kill
(Koroshi no rakuin)
Jo Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Annu Mari, Koji Nanbara,
Also screens as part of In Focus: Japanese Film Classics
This fractured film noir is the final provocation that got Seijun Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu Studios, simultaneously making him a counterculture hero and putting him out of work for a decade. An anarchic send-up of B-movie clichés, it stars Jo Shishido as an assassin who gets turned on by the smell of cooking rice, and whose failed attempt to kill a victim (a butterfly lands on his gun) turns him into a target himself. Perhaps Suzuki’s most famous film, it has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Park Chan-wook, and John Woo.